Mad Science

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It’s 1:30 AM, and I am reading a Charles Stross novel through a tiny monitor hovering precariously in front of my face.

I do not know what convinced me to illicitly load a copy of Kindle Cloud Reader onto Google Glass. At first glance, it didn’t seem like a sane idea: I expected the font to be terribly maladjusted, the display to contort itself awkwardly, and the viewer to spin 90 degrees on its side, as if I was attempting to divine the complete works of Geoffrey Chaucer from a bowl of alphabet soup stapled to my face. But after a few burps and hiccups, it works startlingly well, offering its now-sepia-on-black rendered text in crystal clear, paragraph-length bites. I click a small mouse in my right palm to turn each page; they haven’t gotten the input model down for this app just yet.

Most readers have probably noticed that I’m a huge nerd. It’s actually a bit more than that: I’m a posthumanist mad scientist.

I’m not saying this because I’m evil, build deadly robots, or have an iron-clad plan to take over the world (though that would be incredibly cool). A more useful metaphor might be one of the Red Mage: I dabble in the margins, connecting the disparate sciences together to see what sticks, without the devotion of complete study. The results are oddball, bizarre, and categorically insane, and I have journals, disks, and reams of unsorted media filled to the brim with experiments and thought logs.

This dabbler mindset is incredibly useful, because my diverse creative interests gives me good predictions of what people will invent next. It also gives me tremendous versatility, which I find value in every single day. But, it also results in shallowness and lack of depth for any specific topic. For this reason, I rarely clear the top rungs of any given vocation. (If I somehow do so accidentally, I will actually move on, so I can keep learning.)

I’m this way, in part, because I greatly enjoy being a tourist in any given field. I especially enjoy the process of rapid study and reverse engineering; to me, it’s a puzzle. To a lesser extent, this tourism writ large has generated in me an obsession with creative autonomy and self-sufficiency that gives me this strangely seductive sense of ownership over the bizarre ideas that pass between my ears.

I call myself a posthumanist mad scientist because, while so many of my projects are whimsical and short-lived, this agenda isn’t: I have a long-standing goal to transcend humanity. Maybe it’s strange that this is so immutable and matter-of-fact for me. This manifests itself as small snatches of disconnected ideas and obsessions about virtual worlds, augmented reality software, and modes of expression that let me be the charming, shiny creature that I wish to be. But they want for more cohesion, which I suppose I’m working on.

I’m not really going anywhere with this, I just wanted to share. Even though tinkering with technology and ideas is what I do, it feels so far off the right end of self-actualization that it makes me deeply self-conscious. I guess I’m still figuring out how to manage that.


4 thoughts on “Mad Science

    Solei Drackenseye said:
    April 13, 2014 at 10:44 am

    I wholeheartedly approve of your goals, and every step I’ve seen you take towards them. Also, your title is /excellent/. ❤

      goldkin responded:
      April 15, 2014 at 1:36 am

      Thank you! And thank you for the kind words here and on G+. I enjoy being liked. ^..^

    S-Vortex said:
    April 13, 2014 at 10:57 am

    I like the way you think ^^ That’s actually been one of the things I really want a glass for, kindle content, despite the issues. I’m glad you got it working elegantly

    Can’t wait to see what you make next! The dabbler scientist is one of the coolest kinds of people, flowing through technologies like they’re magic, creating things others just haven’t, occasionally learning all there is to know about a few subjects and then using their general knowledge of many more to create amazing things.

    To transcend humanity is a wonderful goal! And it’s amazing just how perfect a human is in terms of being able to extend their capabilities through the things they make and understand, I have no doubt that someday, perhaps sooner than expected or perhaps later, transcending the basic body we have now will be possible. I mean, not that our bodies are incomplete now, they’re a brilliant base to hold us in as we’re growing and learning. But just look at our nature, even now we’re extending our will through our fingers a little inefficiently to the computer to build the world within it. Perhaps in a machine we can move ground and build skyscrapers, it’s in our nature to transcend, and as we grow in understanding, someday I do hope we can rebuild ourselves physically.

    I do hope someday you can be the shiny majestic creature you wish to be ^^. Someday I wish the same, I’m torn greatly between severely wishing I were born in the future closer to when this could be true and feeling as though I’m in just the right place to start making a difference toward that end.

    Ideas are the best! Thanks for sharing ^^
    Self actualization… I do know the Jungian Myers Briggs type indicator has some issues that some people find limits it, but you sound greatly like an INTP/J type, those really are wonderful types! to me you sound more P than J, And of course I’m likely far off because despite my fascination with the scale, I’m not the worlds best classifier. I do like it in that it gives me hope that the mind can be mimicked closely in AI, one future goal is to create a very viable virtual reality and an AI that understands people would be amazing in that context as a teacher and helper toward people working in such things. But what I meant to say was the self actualization thing is something that is both great and something you don’t have to worry about, it helps keep one motivated to bring these magnanimous ideas and possibilities to life! so the self consciousness pushes one to do the actualization steps that otherwise wouldn’t be done, but at the same time because of that its presence means you do have the capability to actualize.

    Sorry for the length! I enjoyed this article ^^

      goldkin responded:
      April 15, 2014 at 1:41 am

      Thank you so much for the thoughtful reply! I often feel somewhat worried that my responses are terse by comparison, but then, they usually make their way into what I post next.

      Also, I blush! There’s a lot here that’s very right, which I should discuss at length at some point!

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